Stocks still weak: Not as bad as yesterday, when the financial issues took a beating, but the Dow is down in early trading. One bellwether is heavy machinery maker Caterpillar, which lost $558 million in the first quarter (first loss in 16 years) and slashed its full-year forecast.
Broadcom bids for Emulex: It's a $764 million unsolicited offer for the Costa Mesa-based maker of products used in computer data centers. Broadcom, based Irvine, just reported a first-quarter loss of $92 million. It makes semiconductors for cell phones and other consumer products. (WSJ)
Lions Gate blocks Icahn: The movie company is refinancing $66.6 million of its debt in a move that might nix the investor's efforts to take control. Icahn has been pressuring the studio to cut costs. He's the third-largest shareholder. (Variety)
Another sour economic index: The number of commercials shot in the 2nd Street Tunnel has nosedived - actually, no permits have been issued in 2009 for car commercials. From the LAT:
The tunnel is the perfect architectural metaphor for automotive advertising. Because it's only a quarter-mile long, both entrances are always in view inside the tunnel. A car photographed there seems to be emerging out of the light -- seemingly being born in a burst of Wordsworthian glory -- and coursing restlessly toward the other light, which reads as destination, aspiration, the future, the sublime. For advertisers appealing to younger buyers, the tunnel conveys a sense of high-key urbanism and bright-light, late-night modernity.
One perk disappearing: That's the one where companies pay taxes on the perks given to their CEOs. So not only did they receive free club memberships and personal use of the company plane, but they didn't have to pay taxes on any of it. From the WSJ:
Some governance experts believe the gross-up retreat will spread. Many boards view the present turmoil as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to remove abusive compensation practices, says Patrick McGurn, special counsel for proxy adviser RiskMetrics Group Inc., which recently added gross-ups to its list of poor executive-pay practices. It has advised against the reelection of certain directors at several companies this year because of reimbursement payments.
NYT Co. reports loss: Ad revenue at the company's publishing segment fell 28.4 percent, including an 8 percent decline in Internet advertising. Like other newspaper companies, the Times Co. has been in serious cost-cutting mode. (NYT)
Lacter on radio: This week's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian covers SAG's contract deal with the studios and why we should care about the downturn in commercial real estate. Also at kpcc.org and on podcast.